Art

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Art

Ceramic Head Sculptures by En Iwamura Explore Philosophies of Movement and Space

December 29, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images © En Iwamura

Japanese artist En Iwamura creates large ceramic sculptures of heads with minimalist facial features. Holes and slits reference eyes and mouths on the oddly-shaped forms, while uniform grooves traverse the clay surfaces in complex patterns. With site-responsive installations, the artist introduces viewers to the Japanese philosophy of Ma⁠—the relationship between viewers, objects, and negative space⁠—and gives them the opportunity to experience it first-hand.

Born in Kyoto to artist parents, Iwamura studied at Kanazawa College of Craft and Art where he earned MFA and BFA in Crafts/Ceramics. In 2013, he traveled to the United States to study at Clemson University and was later invited to give artist talks and lead workshops in New Hampshire and Montana. Through lectures, his artistic practice, and exhibitions with New York-based Ross + Kramer Gallery, Iwamura has explored ways of altering audience experiences while introducing them to the uniquely Japanese concept of Ma. “People constantly read and measure different Ma between themselves,” the artist said in a statement, “and finding the proper or comfortable Ma between people or places can provide a specific relationship at a given moment.”

Watch a video of Iwamura’s texturing technique here and follow the artist on Instagram to see more expressive characters in various stages of the creation process.

 

 



Art Craft

Colorful Tapestries of Silk, Wool, and Cotton Hand Woven by Judit Just

December 28, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images © Judit Just

Spanish artist Judit Just of jujujust (previously) crafts vibrant wall tapestries in improvised compositions using traditional and updated weaving techniques. Satin ribbons, viscose fringe tassels, silk threads, cord, and soft wool form unique color, texture, and shape combinations. While each piece is modeled after an original stored in the artist’s studio, the handmade nature of the process ensures that no two tapestries are the same.

These vertical works are hung from wooden dowels that are hand-painted to complement the neon colored textiles. Sizes vary, with some pieces measuring 25 x 25 inches and others stretching more than 3 feet. To witness Just’s weaving and cutting processes, follow her on Instagram. You can also add one of the wall tapestries to your personal collection by placing an order via the artist’s Etsy shop.

 

 



Art Food Photography

Pearls Puncture and Support Fruit and Vegetables in Photographs by Ana Straže

December 26, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Ana Straže, shared with permission

In her latest series Forbidden Foods, photographer Ana Straže pierces a peeling slice of grapefruit, a cut eggplant, and other fruits and vegetables using small pins topped with pearls to create contemporary still lifes of common foods. The Slovenia-based artist manipulates food and positions the pins in patterns as an attempt to alter the meaning of the every day objects. Straže tells Colossal she hoped the pearls would “help expose and emphasize different shapes and food value, such as emphasizing the structure of the epidermis, helping compositionally insert an object into a given space, complementing the food, and adding a new perspective.”

The ongoing series is an extension of the photographer’s previous work Garden of Eden, a project that centered on women’s expulsion in the Old Testament. “Through contemporary ways, I want to capture food in a unique approach with a slight sensual touch,” Straže writes. “With the Forbidden Food series, I’m trying to discover the limits of aesthetics and notice the importance of simple everyday things.” You can see more of the photographer’s food-based work on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Striking Portraits Featuring Powerful Women of Color Painted by Artist Tim Okamura

December 23, 2019

Grace Ebert

“Rosie no. 1.” (2016), 29.5 × 44.19 inches

In his portraits of women, Brooklyn-based painter Tim Okamura explores the human relationship to identity. His powerful works largely feature a single black woman in an exceptionally strong pose, with some pieces including natural elements like butterflies and rodents and others using graffiti reminiscent of city landscapes. Originally from Canada, Okamura “investigates identity, the urban environment, and contemporary iconography through a unique method of painting—one that combines an essentially academic approach to the figure with collage, spray paint and mixed media.” In an interview with Nailed, the artist spoke about why he began spotlighting people who are often underrepresented in art, saying he wanted a way to learn about those different from him and to question his conceptions of his own identity.

With art – you come to realize – its not just about the work, it just doesn’t end there but, who made it. Sometimes it doesn’t always line up as the viewer imagined. That part of my work I didn’t intend to be conceptual, but it has challenged people’s ideas of who can represent who through art. People can quickly sense if artwork is from a place of authenticity or not – my messages are positive and so are my representations and this is a celebration of my community.

Several recent works by Okamura are currently on view in the group exhibition Still I Rise at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art through May 25, 2020. Find the artist’s available portraits on Artsy, and follow him on Instagram.

“The Parlor,” (2019), Oil on canvas, 80 × 56 inches

“Courage 3.0”

“Revelation No. 1” (2019), Oil and acrylic on wood, 42 × 30 inches

“From the Spark Comes the Light” (2017), Mixed media on canvas, 48 × 36 inches

“Artemis”

“Stay Warm Keep it Cool”

“Presence”

 

 



Art

The Movement of Waves and Currents Illustrated in Glass by Shayna Leib

December 21, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Flux (2012), 16 x 30 x 8 inches. All photos by Eric Tadsen

Artist Shayna Leib (previously) finds inspiration in wind and water for her intricate and delicate glass sculptures. Thousands of hand-pulled canes are affixed into improvised compositions that mimic sea life swept by natural forces. Custom hues accentuate the soft appearance of the sculptures while contrasting the nature of the material and the caneworking process.

As Leib explains on her website, cane pulling involves layering colorants between gathers of molten glass and stretching it into rods. Two of the artist’s latest compositions, “Grotto” and “Harmattan,” get their deep red color from colorants formulated with gold. The rods are then curved using a kiln and molds before being cut into smaller sections. After sorting the tens of thousands of pieces by color and shape, Leib begins the process of arranging them in frames to form three-dimensional works.

“The things I find beautiful have always been fractal in nature,” Leib said in a statement. “I am intrigued by multitudes of tiny little parts- blades of grass all bending in the wind to the same rhythm. As you pan out you have waves of form. Zoom in and you see each individual blade of grass moving to the flow of the wind.” To view more angles of Leib’s dynamic glass sculptures, follow her on Instagram.

Sunset over the Tundra (2013), glass, 22 x 36 x 7 inches.

Sunset over the Tundra (detail)

Harmattan (2019)

Hexacorallia (2019), 36 x 12 x 8 inches

Grotto (2019), 36 x 20 x 9 inches; Stiniva IV (2019), 36 x 20 x 9 inches

 

 



Art Colossal

Interview: Magnhild Kennedy Shares the Story Behind her Lavish and Mysterious ‘Damselfrau’ Masks

December 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Magnhild Kennedy, who works as ‘Damselfrau‘ (previously) crafts ornate wearable artworks using found, vintage, and modified fabrics, trims, and even recycled grocery packaging. The Norway-born, U.K.-based artist shares the behind the scenes process of sourcing and interpreting her raw materials into eye-catching, genre-defying masks with Colossal contributor Laura Staugaitis. Get to know Magnhild in our new Interview series for Colossal Members. Learn more about Membership and join here.

 

 



Art

Color-Blocked Animals and Geometric Shapes Transform Neglected Home in Installation by Okuda San Miguel

December 16, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Justkids, shared with permission

Spanish street artist Okuda San Miguel is bringing vibrancy once again to a formerly untended area of Fort Smith, Arkansas. His recent project, “The Rainbow Embassy,” was curated by global creative house Justkids for the Unexpected, an effort to revitalize dilapidated areas in Arkansas through a series of immersive arts initiatives. For the installation, Okuda painted a neglected house that occupied a lot adjacent to Darby Junior High School with a series of multi-colored geometric shapes and lines. The structure even has two faces resembling animals painted on its sides.

“This project gave me the possibility to expand on my previous work, adding in more architectonic dimension and completing my vision of mythical animals,” Okuda says. He wants his work to bring “a touch of imagination and play into the daily lives of the neighboring community and students and Darby Junior High, as they will get to enjoy the installation and watch as it evolves through the seasons.”

Okuda is known for his metamorphic projects, including his work on churches in Morocco and Spain and on a 19th-century French castle. If you’re in Fort Smith, head downtown to check out the permanent installation. Otherwise, find more of the artist’s vibrant transformations on Instagram.